At Northgate School, our primary intent is to have an engaging and inspiring curriculum with high academic ambition that ignites curiosity for all pupils. Our vision for science at Northgate is to enthuse children to investigate, ask and answer questions and for children to become scientifically literate through practical learning.
The 2014 National Curriculum for science aims to ensure that all children:
- develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
- develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
- are equipped with the scientific skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
At Northgate our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum, the Herts science assessment materials and where appropriate, fits alongside our Cornerstones Curriculum. It develops both knowledge and working scientifically skills and has clearly defined end points. We ensure our curriculum is taught in a logical progression, systematically and explicitly, building on previous learning and skills for future learning so that our children can use equipment, conduct experiments, build arguments and explain concepts confidently and continue to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings.
We know that children are naturally curious and we encourage this inquisitive nature throughout their time with us and beyond. Science fosters a healthy inquisitiveness in children about our universe and promotes respect for the natural and life sciences. We believe science encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills and positive attitudes.
Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in science. In our lessons, we ensure we follow our science principles for how we learn science well which were developed by the children and teachers of Northgate.
Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following;
- Science is planned and taught weekly by the class teacher in all year groups
- Science units are in line with the National Curriculum and are linked, where appropriate, to the Cornerstones curriculum
- Knowledge organisers are used for each topic to provide teachers with the key knowledge and vocabulary of a science unit. They clearly state the prior knowledge children should have and the future learning they will gain in this topic area. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge and understanding as well as support the retention of facts
- Through our planning, children are given a range of knowledge and skills based activities. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills
- Teachers use a range of formative assessment tools to check pupils’ understanding and assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all children keep up
- Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. We use our ‘Working Scientifically wheels’ to ensure progression in this area. Our working scientifically skills plan maps out where each skill is covered in each year group to ensure we have full coverage of this.
- Children increase their cultural capital through visits and visitors e.g. Year 3 Animal workshop, Year 5 Space dome. These specialist visits and visitors deliver high quality workshops to facilitate and support science learning by building on the children’s prior knowledge and aspire them to think of their futures and their prospective career paths. Children use the school pond and outdoor learning environment to enhance learning around living things and their habitats. As well as this, our annual Science week gives children the opportunity to take part in a range of learning experiences around a set theme. The children work with children of different ages, experience outdoor learning, have workshops from Fab science and visits from parent helpers who have science backgrounds
- Events for the more able scientists from local schools are organised to ensure these children are given extra opportunities to be challenged.
The successful approach at Northgate Primary School results in a fun, engaging, high quality science education that provides children with the foundations for understanding the world. Achieving the science award in September 2022 indicates quality science work within the school. Our children can confidently articulate their learning and results at the end of KS1 and 2 are above National results.
Children are given enriched science experiences as part of their learning and science visits help support the awe and wonder of science that will continue to the next stage of education. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts and local companies, children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity.
Children at Northgate enjoy science and this results in motivated learners.